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Anti-Obama rodeo incident mars Missouri State Fair

Aug. 11, 2013 at 11:54 PM   |   Comments

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Aug. 11 (UPI) -- An anti-President Obama incident at a Missouri State Fair rodeo brought sharp rebukes from state leaders and an apology from fair officials Sunday.

On Saturday night, the rodeo announcer repeatedly asked the crowd if they wanted to see a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask get run over by a bull. The crowd cheered wildly in the affirmative, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

"The performance by one of the rodeo clowns at Saturday's event was inappropriate and disrespectful, and does not reflect the opinions or standards of the Missouri State Fair," spokeswoman Kari Mergen said in a statement posted to Facebook. "We strive to be a family friendly event and regret that Saturday's rodeo badly missed that mark."

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., weighed in Sunday, saying the incident sent the wrong message to young people, who she said "learned exactly the wrong lesson about political discourse -- that somehow it's ever acceptable to, in a public event, disrespect, taunt, and joke about harming the president of our great nation."

"Missouri is better than this, and I expect someone to be held accountable," the senator added.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, condemned the incident in a post on Twitter.

"The @MoStateFair celebrates Missouri and our people," he wrote. "I condemn the actions disrespectful to POTUS the other night. We are better than this."

The Kansas City Star reported Gov. Jay Nixon's press secretary, Scott Holste, said Nixon, a Democrat, "agrees that the performance was disrespectful and offensive, and does not reflect the values of Missourians or the State Fair."

The Star said the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association, which had organized the rodeo, apologized on its website for what it called an "inappropriate" event.

"We are taking measures by training and educating our contract acts to prevent anything like this from ever happening again," the group's statement said.

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